Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Former Models for Donald Trump's Agency Say They Violated Immigration Rules and Worked Illegally


James West at Mother Jones levels a very interesting set of immigration accusations at immigration hawk -- at times at least -- Donald Trump.

Trump, of course, has placed immigration at the core of his presidential campaign. West claims, however, that "the mogul's New York modeling agency, Trump Model Management, has profited from using foreign models who came to the United States on tourist visas that did not permit them to work here, according to three former Trump models, all noncitizens, who shared their stories with Mother Jones. Financial and immigration records included in a recent lawsuit filed by a fourth former Trump model show that she, too, worked for Trump's agency in the United States without a proper visa."


Former Trump Model Management Model Rachel Blais  For details about her claims, click here.



August 31, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Latin American Countries Want US To End Cuban Preference


High level ministers of Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Peru have written an open letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry asking for changes to the U.S. treatment of Cuban migrants. The officials are concerned that U.S. policy is fueling “disorderly, irregular and unsafe” migration of Cubans through their nations.

There have been numerous stories about increased Cuban migration through Latin American over the past year. (Check here and here for our coverage). The rising numbers directly relate to concerns among Cubans that the preferential treatment they've received over other Latino migrants will end as relations between the United States and Cuba normalize.

No word yet on how or whether Kerry will respond.


August 31, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump Meeting with Mexican President, Announcing Immigration Plan


330px-Donald_Trump_March_2015 330px-Presidente_Enrique_Peña_Nieto._Fotografía_oficial

CNN reports that Donald Trump announced last night that he will meet today with the President of Mexico just hours before he is set to deliver a speech focused on immigration policy. 

"I have accepted the invitation of President Enrique Pena Nieto, of Mexico, and look very much forward to meeting him tomorrow," Trump tweeted as reports swirled that Trump was mulling a last-minute trip to Mexico.
The office of the Mexican President confirmed that Trump had accepted Peña Nieto's invitation and that the two will meet privately today.

August 31, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

U.S Government Admits Giving Supreme Court Incorrect Data in Immigration Case


Jess Bravin in the Wall Street Journal reports on a troubling story involving the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a letter to the Supreme Court (Download Demore), the Solicitor General last week admitted that it provided the Supreme Court with erroneous information that helped it win a 2003 case (Demore v. Kim) -- in a 5-4 vote with Chief Justice William Rehnquist writing for the majority -- upholding a blanket policy of denying bail to immigrants detained while awaiting removal from the United States. The letter said the U.S. government made “several significant errors” that greatly understated the time certain aliens with criminal records spend in no-bail detention.

The Court's decision in Demore v. Kim cited government data to hold that “the very limited time of detention” for immigrants while their appeals are pending is too short to trigger a constitutional right to a bail hearing.

The Court in Demore v. Kim represented a retreat from the Court's decision in Zadvydas v. Davis (2001), which held restricted detention of an immigrant subject to a final removal order.

The Supreme Court in the 2016 Term will address another immigrant detention case, Jennings v. Rodriguez.  The issues presented in that case include:

(1) Whether aliens seeking admission to the United States who are subject to mandatory detention under 8 U.S.C. § 1225(b) must be afforded bond hearings, with the possibility of release into the United States, if detention lasts six months;

(2) whether criminal or terrorist aliens who are subject to mandatory detention under Section 1226(c) must be afforded bond hearings, with the possibility of release, if detention lasts six months; and

(3) whether, in bond hearings for aliens detained for six months under Sections 1225(b), 1226(c), or 1226(a), the alien is entitled to release unless the government demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that the alien is a flight risk or a danger to the community, whether the length of the alien’s detention must be weighed in favor of release, and whether new bond hearings must be afforded automatically every six months.

In light of the recent SG's recent admission of providing the Court with inaccurate data, expect the Supreme Court to carefully scrutinize the government's assertions in Jennings v. Rodriguez.

As analyzed by Nancy Morawetz, the Solicitor General also admitted to misstatements to the Supreme Court of government policy and practice in Nken v. Holder (2009), which dealt with stays of removal pending appeals.


August 31, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Death on the Border Chapter 1001: Documenting The Dead On The Arizona Border


Michel Marizco on Fronteras reminds us of a common occurrence along the U.S./Mexico border:  death.

On August 8 of this year, a U.S. Border Patrol agent tracking a group of migrants from Mexico came upon the lonely remains of a person who had likely crossed the border into the U.S. some time ago. The remains were scattered, incomplete and the person they once comprised, was unidentified, unknown. It’s an old story in this quiet desert.   A slow and lonesome death.

Smugglers are paid to guide people through trails but often leave clients behind in the rush to keep moving and avoid detection. Some migrants choose to bypass the enterprising criminal networks and go it alone. But in doing so, they risk the possibility of becoming overwhelmed by the magnitude of a long walk through hard country. This desert holds bones and it guards their identity like secrets.

The bodies of nearly 900 people remain unidentified in Pima County, Arizona, the result of years of illegal border crossings that funneled people through the Arizona desert. Now, a new program is underway at the Pima County Medical Examiner in Tucson to use DNA to match those remains to thousands of people who’ve been reported missing.


August 31, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thousands Saved Off Coast of Libya

CroppedMigrants and refugees are rescued from a wooden boat off Libya on Monday. Photo: AP -missmigrant

Migrants and refugees are rescued from a wooden boat off Libya on Monday. Photo: AP

The Italian navy and a number of search and rescue boats have saved nearly 7,000 migrants and refugees off the Libyan coast since Monday, in one of the largest ever rescue operations in the Mediterranean, writes Giovanni Legorano in The Wall Street Journal. Flavio di Giacomo, spokesman for the International Organization for Migration in Italy, said the number of those rescued was set to grow as rescue operations were still ongoing.

Until Monday, the migrants and refugees who reached Italy—most of whom had been rescued south of the island of Sicily—in August numbered around 12,000, or slightly more than half the arrivals in the same month last year. Since the beginning of the year, 113,000 migrants reached Italy, only slightly less than in the same period of last year. However, the closure of European borders means migrants are bottled up in Italy, which is scrambling to find places to host them. Italian reception centers now shelter 145,000 migrants and refugees, an increase of more than 50% since the beginning of the year.


August 31, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Immigration Article of the Day: 'Sanctuary' Laws: The New Immigration Federalism by Barbara E. Armacost


'Sanctuary' Laws: The New Immigration Federalism by Barbara E. Armacost, University of Virginia School of Law August 15, 2016 Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2016-45

Abstract: The policy of “immigration federalism” has justified granting state and local police officers greatly increased responsibilities for enforcing immigration laws, but the devolution of power has also generated enormous controversy. Supporters argue that the vast number of local police and their knowledge of local conditions can substantially assist federal immigration enforcement. Critics say that the policy has caused serious problems, including increased racial profiling and more pretextual arrests for minor crimes, and that the resulting alienation of immigrant communities has reduced public safety. The controversy is not just academic, as more than 270 local jurisdictions have adopted policies designed to resist immigration federalism. Some argue that these laws have only one purpose: to thwart federal enforcement and shelter illegal immigrants. National legislators have proposed legislation to squelch local resistance by cutting federal funds to those localities. Such responses are, however, fundamentally inconsistent with the very theory of federalism. The widespread resistance to immigration federalism is a state/local-inspired reaction to the serious, if unintended consequences of localized immigration policing. A true immigration federalist should view such local resistance not as mere opposition to quash, but as a “new immigration federalism,” a source of insight into the on-the-ground problems with current immigration policies. This article argues that the policies enacted as part of the local resistance movement point the way both to specific solutions, and to a better – and more theoretically sound – immigration federalism. This “new immigration federalism” is already having an effect on federal immigration policy.


August 30, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mother was deported to Mexico and her kids remain in the U.S. Here's how this family works.

Read this Los Angeles Times article and ask yourself "is this America?"


August 30, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Stand Up to Trump


Today the Democratic National Committee released a new video entitled, “Stand up to Trump” that shows how Donald Trump’s words and actions are a divisive and dangerous attempt to divide us, but we know that we are stronger together. In the video, Americans from a diversity of backgrounds – from a Muslim-American, to an American living with a disability, to an Asian-American and others – react to Donald Trump’s hateful words and make clear that he cannot and does not speak for all of us. Trump’s divisive rhetoric and policies show he is unfit for the presidency and does not have the temperament to occupy the Oval Office.


August 30, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Libertarian Alternative: Gary Johnson: Build a better immigration system, not a wall

Mediterranean Missing: Understanding Needs of Families and Obligations of Authorities


In 2015 and the first half of 2016, over 6,600 refugees and migrants drowned or went missing in the Mediterranean after their boats capsized while trying to reach Europe. The crisis is ongoing.  A new report: Missing Migrants in the Mediterranean: Addressing the Humanitarian Crisis, authored by the University of York, City University London and IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre in Berlin, shows that many of the bodies are never identified, and families at home face never finding out what has happened to their loved ones.  For more details, click here.

The Mediterranean Missing research project will be launching its final reports from August 31st, and holding launch events in Greece, Italy and Brussels in August and September.

For copies of reports see here. Here is the latest.

Launch dates are as follows:

  • Lesbos: Aug. 31st, Hotel Elysion, Mytilene, 11.00 am
  • Athens: Sept. 1st, Hotel Poseidon (Palio Faliro), 10.00 am
  • Palermo, Rome, Brussels: The week of Sept. 26th

These are public meetings and all are welcome. Watch this space for more details.

Click here for the latest data briefing from International Organization for Migration, the increasing dangers of international migration, and how the Mediterranean remains the most dangerous route. 


August 30, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 29, 2016

Third Circuit Holds Suspension Clause Does Not Apply to Non-Citizens Physically (But Not Lawfully) Present in the United States


Steve Vladeck on Just Security writes about a spectacular new court of appeals decision:

In a breathtaking 80-page opinion handed down today in Castro v. U.S. Dep’t of Homeland Security, a unanimous panel of the Third Circuit has held that the Suspension Clause does not protect non-citizens physically (but not lawfully) present within the United States — at least where they have recently (and surreptitiously) entered the country. The holding comes in the specific context of habeas petitions filed by dozens of Central American migrants seeking to block their expedited removal from the country, but the reasoning has much broader scope (and, potentially, enormously troubling consequences).

Here’s the central passage from pp. 66-68 of the majority opinion:

Boumediene contemplates a two-step inquiry whereby courts must first determine whether a given habeas petitioner is prohibited from invoking the Suspension Clause due to some attribute of the petitioner or to the circumstances surrounding his arrest or detention. Only after confirming that the petitioner is not so prohibited may courts then turn to the question whether the substitute for habeas is adequate and effective to test the legality of the petitioner’s detention (or removal). . . . .The reason Petitioners’ Suspension Clause claim falls at step one is because the Supreme Court has unequivocally concluded that “an alien seeking initial admission to the United States requests a privilege and has no constitutional rights regarding his application.” Landon, 459 U.S. at 32. Petitioners were each apprehended within hours of surreptitiously entering the United States, so we think it appropriate to treat them as“alien[s] seeking initial admission to the United States.” Id. And since the issues that Petitioners seek to challenge all stem from the Executive’s decision to remove them from the country, they cannot invoke the Constitution, including the Suspension Clause, in an effort to force judicial review beyond what Congress has already granted them. As such, we need not reach the second question under the Boumediene framework, i.e., whether the limited scope of review of expedited removal orders under § 1252 is an adequate substitute for traditional habeas review.


Read the full blog post at the link above.


August 29, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Will Private Immigrant Detention End?

Jeh johnson

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson

The Department of Justice recently announced that it would stop using private contractors for prisons.  Will the federal government follow suit with respect to immigrant detention?

The Department of Homeland Security today issued an important "Statement by Secretary Jeh C. Johnson on Establishing a Review Of Privatized Immigration Detention."  It states in full that

"On August 18, the Department of Justice announced that the Bureau of Prisons will reduce and ultimately end its use of private prisons. On Friday, I directed our Homeland Security Advisory Council, chaired by Judge William Webster, to evaluate whether the immigration detention operations conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement should move in the same direction. Specifically, I have asked that Judge Webster establish a Subcommittee of the Council to review our current policy and practices concerning the use of private immigration detention and evaluate whether this practice should be eliminated. I asked that the Subcommittee consider all factors concerning ICE’s detention policy and practice, including fiscal considerations. A subcommittee of the HSAC will undertake this review, and the full HSAC will provide to me and the Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement its written report of its evaluation no later than November 30, 2016."

UPDATE (Aug. 20):  The Washington Post in this article looks at the possible end of private immigrant detention.  Immigrant detention has skyrocketed since reforms in 1996,  which dramatically increased the use of detention in immigration enforcement.   


August 29, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Billionaire who Donated to the Clinton Foundation, Denied Visa to Enter US

Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_crop Chagoury-headshot

Joseph Tanfani of the Los Angeles Times has a fascinating story about the Clinton Foundation that touches on immigration.

Nigerian billionaire Gilbert Chagoury, one of Africa’s richest men, has built a reputation in global philanthropy. Since the 1990s, Chagoury has been friends with the Clinton family — in part through a contribution of at least $1 million to the Clinton Foundation. By the time Hillary Clinton became secretary of State, the relationship was strong enough for Bill Clinton’s closest aide to push for Chagoury to get access to top diplomats, and the agency began exploring a deal, still under consideration, to build a consulate on Chagoury family land in Lagos, Nigeria.

But even as those talks were underway, bureaucrats in other arms of the State Department were examining accusations that Chagoury had unsavory affiliations, stemming from his activities and friendships in Lebanon. In fact, Chagoury was refused a visa to enter the U.S. last year.

Chagoury was born in Lagos to Lebanese parents and attended school in Lebanon. During the rule of Gen. Sani Abacha, who seized power in Nigeria in 1993, Chagoury prospered, receiving development deals and oil franchises.  In the 1990s, Chagoury portrayed himself as an Abacha insider as he tried to influence American policy. 

As a noncitizen, Chagoury in 1996 gave $460,000 to a voter registration group steered by Bill Clinton’s allies and was rewarded with an invitation to a White House dinner. Over the years, Chagoury attended Clinton's 60th birthday fundraiser and helped arrange a visit to St. Lucia, where the former president was paid $100,000 for a speech. Chagoury also contributed $1 million to $5 million to the Clinton Foundation. 

During a 2013 dedication ceremony in Lagos, just after Hillary Clinton left her post as secretary of State, Bill Clinton lauded the $1-billion Eko Atlantic as an example to the world of how to fight climate change.

After Hillary Clinton left the State Department, Chagoury again found himself under suspicion by U.S. security officials for allegedly “facilitating fundraising for Hezbollah.” The U.S. government put Chagoury in its database used to screen travelers for possible links to terrorism, interagency memos show. 


August 29, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

RIP Juan Gabriel, Mexican Singing Great


330px-Juan_Gabriel_Hollywood_Star Juan_Gabriel_en_Iquique

Juan Gabriel was a Mexican singer and songwriter. Also called El Divo de Juárez, Gabriel was known for his flamboyant style and broke barriers within the Latin music market. With sales of more than 100 million albums, Gabriel was Mexico's top selling artist.[6] Gabriel's album, Recuerdos, Vol. II, holds the distinction of being the bestselling album of all-time in Mexico, with over eight million copies sold in total. During his career he wrote around 1,800 songs.

On August 28, 2016, Gabriel died in Santa Monica, California, while on tour.  Born in Mexico, Gabriel lived most recently in El Paso.


August 29, 2016 in Current Affairs, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump to give Major Immigration Speech in Arizona


Donald Trump's positions on immigration have been the subject of considerable discussion in recent days, with many wondering whether he was softening his "extreme" positions.  Well, according to this tweet, Trump will be making a "major speech" on the issue later this week:   


I will be making a major speech on ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION on Wednesday in the GREAT State of Arizona. Big crowds, looking for a larger venue.

August 29, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

10,000th Syrian reaches US this week

The Associated Press reports that the United States will reach its target this week of taking in 10,000 Syrian war refugees in a year-old resettlement program. Refugee resettlement is an issue in the presidential campaign, with Republican nominee Donald Trump stating that displaced Syrians pose a potential security threat. Alice Wells, the U.S. ambassador to Jordan, said Sunday that keeping Americans safe and taking in some of the world's most vulnerable people are not mutually exclusive. 

In this photo taken Sunday, August 28, 2016, the U.S. ambassador to Jordan, Alice Wells, shakes hands with Syrian refugees ahead of their departure to the United States. The refugees are part of a year-long program to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees in the United States.(AP Photo/Raad Adayleh) 

UPDATE (11:30 PST, Aug. 29);  National Security Advisor Susan Rice issued this statement on U.S. Syrian refugee admissions.

UPDATE (Sept. 3):  The Washington Post editorial board advocates for the admission of more than 10,000 refugees from Syria.


August 29, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 28, 2016

John McCain in Tough Reelection Campaign

As discussed in this CNN story, Senator John McCain is in a tough primary campaign in Arizona.  Immigration has been at its center.  Senator McCain joined a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators in supporting comprehensive immigration reform in 2007, which is getting him attacked in the primary by Dr. Kelli Ward.  And he is attacked by the likely Democratic nominee Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick for being too Trump-like on immigration. 



Kelli Ward


Ann Kirkpatrick

Despite the nastiness of the campaign, Senator McCain enjoys comfortable  leads in the polls.





August 28, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Where Hillary Clinton And Donald Trump Stand On Immigration, A Libertarian Alternative?

Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_crop 330px-Donald_Trump_March_2015

Here is a succinct and thoughtful summary of the immigration positions of the two major presidential candidates.  By the way, Donald Trump in Iowa yesterday returned to his "extreme" immigration positions.



Donald Trump speaks at Sen. Joni Ernst's Roast and Ride Fundraiser on the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, IowaClay Masters / Iowa Public Radio


The Libertarian ticket of Gary Johnson and William Weld offer this vision on immigration:

"Having served as Governor of a border state, Gary Johnson knows the complex issues associated with immigration reform first hand. Solving immigration problems is not as easy as building a wall or simply offering amnesty. 

We should appreciate and respect the diversity of immigrants that come to the United States to be productive members of society. But we also need to recognize that everyone who comes here is not so well-intentioned.

Gary Johnson and Bill Weld don’t want to build an expensive and useless wall. The only thing a big wall will do is increase the size of the ladders, the depth of the tunnels, and the width of the divisions between us.

Candidates who say they want to militarize the border, build fences, and impose punitive measures on good people, ground their position in popular rhetoric, not practical solutions.

Governors Johnson and Weld believe that, instead of appealing to emotions and demonizing immigrants, we should focus on creating a more efficient system of providing work visas, conducting background checks, and incentivizing non-citizens to pay their taxes, obtain proof of employment, and otherwise assimilate with our diverse society.

Making it simpler and more efficient to enter the United States legally will provide greater security than a wall by allowing law enforcement to focus on those who threaten our country, not those who want to be a part of it."



August 28, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Eight Foreign-Born Olympians Win Medals for Team USA


Michele Waslin for the American Immigration Council reports that nearly 50 foreign-born athletes proudly represented the U.S. as part of the Olympic team in Rio de Janeiro, and eight of them won medals.



  • Kerron Clement, born in Trinidad and Tobago, won Gold in the men’s 400 meter hurdles (Track and Field).
  • Kyrie Irving, who won gold with the U.S. Men’s Basketball team, was born in Australia to U.S. citizen parents and has dual citizenship.
  • Paul Chelimo, originally of Kenya, won Silver in the men’s 5,000 meter race (Track and Field). Chelimo is one of four immigrant Olympians who enlisted in the Army, train with the military’s World Class Athlete Program (WCAP), and competed for the U.S. in track and field.
  • Danell Leyva, who defected to the U.S. with his family from Cuba, won two individual Silver medals in Gymnastics.
  • Steffen Peters, who was born in Germany and became a U.S. citizen in 1992 won a team bronze in Dressage (Equestrian).
  • Phillip Dutton, who was born in Australia, won an individual bronze in Equestrian.
  • Dagmara Wozniak, who was born in Poland and came to the U.S. with her parents as a child, was part of the Bronze medal winning Saber Fencing team.
  • Foluke Akinradewo, born in Canada to Nigerian parents, won Bronze as a member of the Women’s Volleyball team.

The diversity of this year’s team was evident, not only in the athletes but also their parents, coaches, and all others who helped the team succeed. Geno Auriemma, coach of the gold medal winning women’s basketball team, was born in Italy and came to the U.S. with his family when he was a child. Marta Karolyi, national team coordinator of the gold medal winning women’s gymnastics team was born in a part of Hungary that is now Romania. She and her husband defected to the U.S. in 1981.


August 27, 2016 in Current Affairs, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)